Reply from Newcastle City Council
Dear Ms Morphett and Mr Murray Welham
CATHEDRAL PARK NEWCASTLE
Cathedral Park is the site of Newcastle’s oldest European cemetery and the resting place of over 3300 of the city’s colonial habitants. In 1966, the NSW Government passed the Christ Church Cathedral cemetery Act (The Act) to enable the subdivision of lands owned by the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle and the establishment of a public park to be vested in Council ownership.
The Act proscribed certain conditions including preparation of a photographic record; and a survey of graves. All monuments were transferred to the ownership of Council. Associated landscape works, including a memorial to those buried in the cemetery, were to be installed within a reasonable time frame.
Works on site commenced in 1972. The burials were left undisturbed; while the monuments were moved elsewhere. Some were used in retaining walls or taken to other parks for landscaping. Eighty- five monuments were moved to the east side where they remain.
Such changes would not be contemplated today, and Council acknowledges that the park is under-utilised and does not reflect community values. Consequently, Council is preparing a Master Plan to guide a series of staged improvements to resolve presentation, proper visitor facilities, install artworks, interpretive signage and landscaping. The remaining monuments are to be restored and re-positioned over their recorded grave plot.
The draft Master Plan includes provision for the names to be presented within the park. It is proposed to inscribe all of these names within new pedestrian pathways.
Council will be seeking comments on the draft Masterplan during May 2012. Please check Council’s website during May to view the draft and make a submission.